Well, if there’s anything The Spin’s sense of entitlement hates more than getting to a show early, it’s waiting in a long-ass line. Christ Almighty, folks — we’re on the list. So rather than wait it out with the plebes, we sipped a beer while watching the line dwindle from across the street, our bratty impatience immediately put in check when we realized it had cost us a Diarrhea Planet performance. Fair enough. Guess we’ll have to go back and read one of our 47 other DP reviews — like this one ... or this one ... or this one — or wait until their full length drops on Infinity Cat to relive the experience.
From the opening riff of the opening jam of their spanking new full-length We Are the Champions, every lyric of every JEFF the Brotherhood tune was echoed by a die-hard chorus that filled the place from wall to wall. The Spin can’t remember the last time we saw JEFF, but that’s only because it was a few weeks ago at Bonnaroo. It doesn’t take a veteran Scene reader to know this is far from our first JEFF rodeo. We were stepping on the Brotherhood bozac before there was a “Brotherhood,” and though we may have griped a time or two about their notoriously, ri-donk-ulously ubiquitous local shows, the real payoff has been watching a good band get even better, acclimating from a scrappy, stoner-punk twosome to a couple of heavy-metal pop wizards. Still just guitar, drums and voice, JEFF has somehow gotten less minimal, keeping their angst on the surface, and injecting all the frills between the lines.
It was around this time we noticed a new addition to the venue: a shiny new sign explicitly forbidding stage diving. Whether there was an incident that set this precedent or Exit/In just got a great deal on a sign, we don’t know — but it sure as hell didn’t serve its function. In fact, if any precedents were set, it was the level of ape-shit the Exit crowd went during headliners Fucked Up. Much in the same vein as JEFF, with whom the band has been touring for a few weeks, Fucked Up elevates the art of a heavy pop song into both extremes. Jamming that much testosterone into a melody can go either way. But rather than fall the way of the Nickelback, their percussive brutality, screaming amps and ultimate hardcore frontman drastically counter lush guitar melodies and darling harmonies with surprisingly awesome results.
Portly and shirtless frontman Damian Abraham twice ventured into the crowd to dole out sweaty, fleshy bear hugs, and with the aid of an extremely long microphone cable, performed half a song from way up in the balcony. He returned with a plastic drink cup suctioned to his forehead, which stayed there so long (the duration of the set), we found ourselves almost more fixated on this than the music itself. Now that, friends, is worth waiting in line for.